When Consumer Reports released its vehicle reliability rankings in October 2017, Toyota once again was at the top of the list. This marked the fifth year in a row that Toyota received this recognition, taking top honors of twenty-seven brands in a survey with feedback from nearly 640,000 vehicle owners.
Here are four reasons that Toyota continues to impress with high reliability rankings:
Emphasis on Consistency of Function rather than Dramatic Changes in Form
Unlike other brands that attract interest by unveiling new models with eye-catching designs, engineers at Toyota s build upon areas where they have achieved success over a long period of time. Safety, reliability, comfort, and economy take precedence over acceleration, velocity, and sleekness of design. Toyota has inspired high levels of loyalty and repeat customers who prefer a vehicle that handles reliably year after model
year instead of having the uncertainly of a redesigned model that may experience performance issues.
Use of a Pragmatic Production System that Differs from the Competitors
When Japanese imports began to arrive in the United States in larger numbers during the oil crisis of the 1970s, many American manufacturers were caught off-guard. In truth, the lean production system that enabled these imports had its roots in the challenging days after the end of the Second World War. Rebuilding after the war, Toyota and other companies had to work smarter and more efficiently. Toyota established a reputation of stopping production if even a single flaw was detected, unlike other makers who handled issues after vehicles rolled out of the factory.
Placement of Workers in Flexible rather than Fixed Assignments during Production
Unlike American and European factories in the postwar era, workers at Toyota performed flexible assignments instead of staying at a fixed place on the line. When the U.S. government sent W. Edward Deming to help Japan rebuild after the Second World War, he taught businesses in the country to focus on continued quality improvement. Toyota dramatically improved production by training line workers to assume multiple roles and gain competency in many skills so they could be redeployed as necessary. Others now copy this approach, but Toyota had a head start. Over the last seventy-plus years, Toyota has become an expert at developing internal efficiencies.
Emphasis on Designing Cars that Last Longeri
Toyota’s have a long-established reputation of staying on the road for many years without a plethora of mechanical ssues. The company invests heavily in research and development to improve their already existing brands instead of trying to “wow” consumers with total overhauls and new brands every year. Even if the price of a Toyota may be higher when purchased, these vehicles stay on the road longer and with fewer problems.